Study Challenges Age of South African Cave Deposits, Raising Questions About Human Origins

Study Challenges Age of South African Cave Deposits, Raising Questions About Human Origins

…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.

Reevaluating Origins: Findings May Cast Doubt on Human Origin Theories

A recent study has discovered that rock deposits in a cave system inhabited by early human ancestors in South Africa could be significantly younger than previously believed.


This finding raises questions about the possibility of humankind originating in the country.

Revised Age Estimates Based on Multidisciplinary Analysis

Using sediment analysis, paleo-magnetism, and uranium-lead dating, the study examined deposits at Bolt’s Farm, located in the Cradle of Humankind approximately 50km northwest of Johannesburg.

The results revealed that these deposits are estimated to be between 2.27 and 1.7 million years old.

This contradicts earlier research, which had suggested that deposits in a specific cave called Waypoint 160 at Bolt’s Farm were around 4.5 million years old, according to the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Bolt’s Farm – A Valuable Fossil Site

Bolt’s Farm is a cave system situated within a World Heritage site and serves as an important source of fossils, including various species of Plio-Pleistocene fauna such as primates and big cats.

Additionally, the site is home to a unique rat species known as Euryotomys bolti, found exclusively in this region.


Rethinking Age Based on Comparative Analysis

The previous research had relied on the fossilized remains of the rat found at Waypoint 160, comparing them to other fossil sites in South Africa to determine the age.

However, the new study took a different approach, comparing the deposits at Bolt’s Farm with other fossil-bearing deposits in the area.

This comparative analysis led to a redefinition of the suggested age of the rat species.

Reevaluating the Cradle’s Chronology

Tara Edwards, a postdoctoral research fellow at UCT’s Human Evolution Research Institute and lead author of the study published in Science Direct, emphasized that their multidisciplinary research over the years has shown no evidence of any sites in the Cradle of Humankind older than 3.2 million years.

Implications for Sterkfontein Caves

The study’s findings also challenge previous assumptions about the age of hominin remains found at the Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle area.

A study published last year suggested that these remains, including the renowned Mrs Ples fossil, were between 3.4 and 3.6 million years old, surpassing the age of the Lucy fossil found in Ethiopia.

The researchers, including co-author Robyn Pickering, note that it is increasingly unlikely that Sterkfontein Caves preserve deposits and fossils older than 3.2 million years.


The new study presenting revised age estimates for rock deposits in South Africa’s cave system has ignited debate regarding the origins of humankind.


The findings challenge previous assumptions and suggest that the Cradle of Humankind may not be as ancient as once believed.

These discoveries encourage further investigation into the timeline of human evolution and the influence of the South African region in shaping our understanding of early human ancestors.

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About the Author:

Roland Peterson is a seasoned and experienced writer with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a special interest in news and has been writing about current events for many years. When he’s not busy writing, Roland enjoys spending time in nature and can often be found exploring the great outdoors. He also loves to relax and unwind by sipping coffee at his favorite coffee shop (Manhattan Espresso) while brainstorming ideas for his next article on TDPel Media. Roland is a dedicated writer who is passionate about delivering informative and engaging content to his readers. He lives in New York, USA.

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